Inoculation: Fighting misinformation with misinformation

Inoculation: Fighting misinformation with misinformation

As a psychologist researching misinformation, I focus on reducing its influence. Essentially, my goal is to put myself out of a job.

Recent developments indicate that I haven’t been doing a very good job of it. Misinformation, fake news and “alternative facts” are more prominent than ever. The Oxford Dictionary named “post-truth” as the 2016 word of the year. Science and scientific evidence have been under assault.

Pepsi tackles climate change

PepsiCo has today confirmed that it intends to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by at least 20 percent by 2030. Between 2006 and 2015, it claims to have achieved an 18 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of its legacy operations. It also extended its use of renewable energy and introduced fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as vending machines and coolers free of hydrofluorocarbons. 

Playground politics: Why do some kids get rejected?

Rejection is part of daily life - and it starts early. Many of us can remember sitting in a classroom feeling like we had been left out by classmates. Yet that may be just a feeling. Many kids regarded as popular believe they were rejected. Some children clearly are, they suffer widespread rejection at school and this can this can have a long-term effect. Or the effect was the cause of the rejection.

Colorectal cancer linked to unhealthy lifestyles

An online survey of more than 27,000 from around the world found that respondents who exercised more, followed a healthy diet and did not smoke were less likely to have a personal history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps.

Did Activists Manipulate Google News Against The American Council on Science and Health?

Did Activists Manipulate Google News Against The American Council on Science and Health?

The American Council on Science and Health, a pro-science consumer advocacy group, has been squarely in the sights of organizations like Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Greenpeace and more for decades. Supporting them in their war against (some) science are smaller fringe outlets like Sourcewatch and US Right To Know and 300 other organizations funded by organic corporations. 

Antipsychotic benefits outweigh risks

Patients with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders do not have negative long-term effects due to antipsychotic medications, according to a new paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Nocebo: Patients aware they're taking statins report more side effects

Nocebo: Patients aware they're taking statins report more side effects

Who is most likely to report side effects from taking statins? People who know they are taking statins and have read about side effects. As many as 20 percent of patients may stop taking or refuse the drug due to reported side effects, which include muscle pain, cataracts, memory loss, erectile dysfunction and disrupted sleep.

Yet in clinical trials people who don't know they are taking statins don't report side effects any more than a placebo group. 

Elephants get herpes too

Elephants also have their own spectrum of herpes viruses, with different elephants carrying different strains.

Asian elephants are carriers of virus types1, 4 and 5, while African elephants carry types 2, 3 and 6. Type 1 is particularly dangerous for young Asian elephants and has led to numerous deaths in the wild and in zoos worldwide. In Switzerland as well, three animals have died of "Elephant Herpes" in the last 30 years. How the elephants transmit the disease, however, and how they become infected, has been largely unknown until now.

Positive Correlation Between Bee Health and Conventional Agriculture

Positive Correlation Between Bee Health and Conventional Agriculture

A new study found that the overall health of honey bee hives actually improves in the presence of agricultural production.

The authors evaluated the impacts of row-crop agriculture, including the traditional use of pesticides, on honey bee health. Results indicated that hive health was positively correlated to the presence of agriculture. According to the study, colonies in a non-agricultural area struggled to find adequate food resources and produced fewer offspring. 

The chemistry of bourbon, just in time for the Kentucky Derby

The chemistry of bourbon, just in time for the Kentucky Derby

With Derby Day, the Kentucky Derby, just around the corner, it's time to think about big hats, horses with one eye, and...chemistry.

No, no, just kidding. Well, sort of. The chemistry of bourbon anyway. While it's not as good as proper whisky, it has its fans and we don't want the world to think we have any sort of Gaelic bias, so the upstarts in the colonies can have their day here also.